Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Patches aftermath and a couple of words

Let me just say.. it's really quite difficult to sit down and write about yourself and what you do. Even if it's what you (and many others) feel that you constantly talk (ramble on) about. Even if it's the thing you love best after rose water milk pudding and naan bread (and green tea ice cream, and curry, and grape fruit juice, and sun-dried tomatoes...) Having a word limit really gets you on your toes and all that. Here's an article, to this effect, which appeared in this month's 'Life & Style' ('Mument' newspaper supplement)

and here are the words that it contained should you be interested in knowing more:
(if not, there are some pretty photos at the end of the post)

I am Maria Muscat, the ‘maker’ behind project Babettopolis – a childhood dream I am proud to be pursuing. Babettopolis adheres wholeheartedly to the ‘handmade’ philosophy and is, to put it simply, a home-based brand which stands for what, in my humble opinion as a crafts- person, is aesthetically pleasing and does not necessarily break the bank.

My year is in part devoted to the collecting of 'unwanted(s)' donated by generous family members and acquaintances to be later torn apart and re-worked as seen fit into costume jewellery and other wearable or non-wearable decorative items which people may fall in love with and realize they ‘need’. The rest of the year revolves around sewing vintage-inspired made-to-measure occasion wear for clients who are on the look out for something beautiful, flattering and unique in cut and detail; the making of, perhaps, a slightly more daring array of one-off hats made out of recycled felt; varied work in clay – from pendants to be incorporated into my costume jewellery collections, to hand-painted pieces of pottery and even custom tile mural work. The list goes on.

In the past I’ve undergone training in pattern-making and shoe-making which have served me well to this day by way of informing my design strategies. When someone approaches me with the need for, say, an unusual pair of shoes – perhaps for special occasions like a wedding or even in cases where the person in question feels like treating him or herself to something personalized, well fitting and unique – I can approach the design process with my practical experience in the craft and with knowledge of the material and its limitations. I enjoy working with the client, getting to know what their requirements and preferences are; I enjoy sitting down for a chat and coming up with small design solutions to aesthetic dilemmas they themselves may not be fully aware of.

I also accept commissioned work that requires some TLC and a more personalized touch, or what I like to refer to as ‘up-cycling’. We all have items in our wardrobe that have seen us through a lot and for this reason it’s harder to part ways with those very items which you’ve come to love for their practicality and durability. Not only is it unwise to invest in cheaper and badly made alternatives to old favourites, but it’s also a shame to get rid of something which has stood the test of time. For example, an old, sturdy and well-made bag which you may have grown a bit tired of may be taken in for some re-vamping, polishing and embellishing – the Babettopolis way – and you leave with something unique (and a clear conscience!)

Babettopolis is all about statement design pieces that tell a story and in the long run, come to define or accentuate your personal idea of style. To commission or purchase a unique handmade item for yourself is something one rarely does in today’s world where a quick fix from a high-street store is mistakenly believed to serve one just as well. Until you do put on something that’s made for you, you may never truly understand and benefit from the luxury of a well made, personalized cut and fit. All I can promise, is to do my best to meet all of your design requirements and perhaps even surprise you in the process.

For more information about current projects you may visit my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/babettopolis

Or visit my blog for an insight into what goes on behind the scenes and in the making of some of my favourite pieces of work:

or e-mail me directly with related queries on:

Here, as promised are some pretty photos that sum up the past few days..

This is LOUIS.. (Otto the Globe Trotto's cousin) knitted by Carla of Rita Cholita fame
~ bought from last Sunday's edition of PATCHES-the special market.. it went swell.. overall, I can safely say that the organizational stress paid off.. next time round I have very ambitious plans of remaining on the organizational team whilst setting up a stall. Let's see how many energy drinks it'll take. I am now experiencing some withdrawal symptoms, the patches aftermath brings with it a suspicious lack of e-mails and urgent phone calls. Maybe I should stop awhile and let the cicadas at it.. it's good to take a day off and do absolutely nothing but soak your blistered feet and hands.

Here are more gifts that came my way .. of the chocolate-y kind and the paper-y kind. Very satisfying when consumed together.

And to top it all off a nicely put-together vintage dress that fits (no not like a glove but) as every tailored shift dress should. The top moulds itself round the shoulders just enough to cap them discreetly, the stiff fabric juts out just enough to leave lee-way in just the right areas.. it is just chevron-perfect!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Reverse Inspiration

I am not a fan of compiling inspiration boards. That is not to say I do not enjoy coming up with them and saving them as my desktop background. I just do not sit down to come up with any before I start sketching/sewing something. What usually happens is I come up with ideas on the spot, shop for material and get on with it. It is only after I finish things that I realize what might have gone into that particular item.

Case in point:

Here's a mood/inspiration board I urged myself to sit down and come up with after I finished the dress below (the dress matches a cat-inspired mask I posted about a while back.. and yes they belong to the same lady!). What actually made it to the 'board' are pictures of things I chatted about with a friend yesterday, some classics, some things people were reminded of when they saw the dress. Things just come together in one's head. It's no use planning too painstakingly.. it's more fun to dream in retrospect.

YEWS' silver faux-leather tunic dress/pod/tunic/etc